Jaylen Brown stayed red hot as he led the Boston Celtics to a blowout 141-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night at the TD Garden. Brown led all scorers with 33 points in just 19 minutes, which set a new NBA record for the most points scored in under 20 minutes of play time. Tacko Fall was the only Boston player to not score, as the bench got in on the fun too. For the Cavs, Colin Sexton cooled off big time after he torched the Brooklyn Nets in their previous two games, only managing 13 points to lead them in scoring. With the win, the C’s move to 9-6 on the season as we near the quarter mark in this shortened 72-game year.
After Cleveland scored the first basket of the game, Boston went on an 11-0 run and never looked back. By the end of the first quarter, they held a 17-point lead, 38-21. Marcus Smart scored 10 points in the opening frame and Brown added 9.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same for Boston. They got whatever shots they wanted to and really picked up their effort on the defensive end, which was lacking in their two losses to Philadelphia. By halftime, Boston held a 73-51 lead, and the game was effectively over. Those 73 points represented a new season high for the Celtics in any half, and they deserved it with the way they played on both ends.
The Celtics lead would eventually balloon to as high as 41 points midway through the third quarter as the Boston starters played most of the quarter, knowing that they would not be needed in the fourth. Though the game was well out of reach, those minutes were important to continue to build Kemba Walker back into game shape as he returns from the knee soreness that kept him out at the beginning of the quarter, and to help him rebuild some chemistry with the team.
Once the starters were pulled, Boston’s reserves continued the beatdown. Carsen Edwards provided a major spark off the bench in this game, putting up 18 points in 19 minutes. He has the ability to be a potent scorer off the bench, and only needs to see the ball go in once to catch on fire.
Aaron Nesmith also got to play 17 minutes due to the blowout nature of this game and made the most of them. He scored a career-high 11 points, including 3-5 from 3-point range. He continues to struggle on corner 3’s which seems a little strange, but he made some nice catch and shoot plays and also had a nice drive into a fall-away midrange shot. His shooting could be real factor if he can manage to work his way into Brad Stevens’ rotation, and this game was a nice start.
It’s clear that Nesmith has a sweet stroke. You don’t get the reputation he had coming out of college by accident. Hopefully, he’ll figure out whatever is wrong with his corner 3’s, and then he can become a real weapon for this team.
Once again, Jayson Tatum did not play in this game for the Celtics. However, as he has done for all of the games that Tatum has missed, Brown made up for it. In the five games since Tatum tested positive for COVID-19, Brown has averaged 29.4 points. We all know what Tatum is capable of doing on the offensive end, but having another star in Brown that is capable of dominating is huge. That’s not even to mention Kemba Walker, who scored 21 points in what was easily his best game of his abbreviated season so far. That trio is going to determine how far the C’s are able to go, so to see Walker and Brown playing at a high level in Tatum’s absence is great.
This should be the last game that Boston is without their All-Star forward. Stevens announced that Tatum will make his return after missing the last five games when the Celtics take on the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. He’s slowly been working his way back with a lot of individual workouts, and is to the point where he can play games again. The Celtics went 2-3 without him, so even Jaylen Brown’s incredible play wasn’t enough without their biggest star on the court. If Walker plays, which he may not on the second leg of a back-to-back, Monday will be the first game that all three of Boston’s stars take the court together. The game against the Bulls is at 9 p.m. Eastern.
Being able to win this game in a blowout was actually very important for the Celtics. Going into a back-to-back, it’s always nice to not have to wear out your starters in the first game, and the score and the play of the Boston bench made sure that none of the starters played too many minutes. Hopefully that will be enough to keep the team fresh for a matchup against a hard-playing Bulls team. Overall, this was a great win against a team that just didn’t seem to come with much energy in the Cavs. Jaylen Brown continued to show that he’s a star in this league, and Boston sits in 2nd place in the conference because of it.
Click on the images below to shop for new Celtics gear!